Melrose to get ‘candy store for supercars’
Mark Smyth took a tour of the site of the new Daytona Group facility at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg
Luxury and exotic cars are about to get a new landmark home showcasing not just the best in automotive design and engineering, but local and international architecture and interior design too.
This week Motor News joined CEO of Daytona Group Justin Divaris for a tour of the building site that will soon become the new home of Aston Martin, McLaren, Pagani and Rolls-Royce in Melrose Arch. It will see all the brands move from the home they have occupied in Sandton since 2005 to a new, purpose-built facility in a R2bn building that will also be the site of the first Marriott hotel in SA, luxury apartments and retail space.
The hotel and apartments will only open in July 2019, but Daytona is set to take ownership of its space in May as it begins the massive job of fitting out more than 8,000m2 of space, 4,000m2 of which is showroom space and another 4,000m2 for the individual service areas dedicated to each brand.
Describing the facility as a "candy store for supercars" Divaris says it will open on November 1 2018 and show "the confidence we as Daytona have in SA and the luxury car market".
As well as a vast pre-owned area, each of the brands will have its own space, although there will be some soft separation created mainly by the difference in brand design. Divaris says that each manufacturer has appointed its own international designers to create their spaces, but he stresses that both local and international suppliers will be used, particularly when it comes to corporate identity furnishings.
The use of local suppliers is unusual for many of the automotive companies, particularly in the luxury market, who often insist that only their international suppliers can be used.
On one side of the entrance to the nine-storey development will be the Daytona visitor and service valet parking area, while on the other will be a separate Rolls-Royce showroom featuring new and pre-owned models, as well as a customer lounge.
In the main Daytona showroom, each brand will have an area off a central "racetrack" that will be wide enough for cars to be displayed or to move through the showroom space. Customers will be able to walk along the racetrack, choosing to visit various brand experiences.
But it will not just be about customers, says Divaris. He is encouraging anyone to visit and see the brands, from customers to those who just want to dream of one day owning an Aston or a McLaren. Each brand will have its own merchandising area.
It is all about creating an experience rather than just a showroom and Divaris says there will be a restaurant, coffee shop, lounge area and even office and boardroom space people will be able to book to host meetings. There will also be a corner VIP area, most likely for the top clients who are putting their names down for those seriously expensive limited edition supercars like the Pagani Huayra or McLaren Senna.
On the subject of McLaren, the space the British brand will occupy will make it one of the biggest McLaren showrooms in the world as it continues to expand its model range with at least one new model a year.
It seems odd that many car service and retail facilities are not open seven days, but Divaris says his customers need to be able to have that flexibility and therefore not only will the servicing and showroom be available seven days a week but the business will trade until 9pm every weekday.
Each brand will have its own service reception in the main showroom but there will also be a separate service entrance.
The 4,000m2 workshops will include 14 lift bays and another 12 bays for diagnostic and other checks. It will house the Daytona Customs and Brabus operations. Customers will be able to check out what is happening in the workshop through a central viewing area in the showroom that is surrounded by the restaurant.
The new development is all part of a big expansion taking place at Melrose Arch but it does leave the question of what will happen to Daytona’s current facilities at Sandton Isle, Sandton. Daytona will invest R20m in converting the entire site into the first BMW super centre with separate spaces for BMW, BMW M, BMW Motorrad and Mini. However this does mean that the company views it as unnecessary for it to sustain the Melrose Arch BMW and Mini dealerships, which will be closed.
"The relocation of Daytona also affords Hyde Park Auto the opportunity to redevelop and expand its highly successful Sandton Auto BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad dealerships and, in so doing, Melrose Arch Auto will merge with Sandton Auto to create a revamped dealership at the Sandton Isle site.
"The consolidation of BMW Group’s offering in Sandton will result in improved customer services, quicker servicing times and efficiencies and will contain new retail concepts for the BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad brands, ensuring the client experience remains world class," says Divaris.